The first week of spying on my co-workers was strange. I did not want to be an “informah” but I had to give the manager something or he may find a reason to fire me. I had seen where managers build “cases” against and employee they did not like and get them fired. I was torn between getting information and warning some of my co-workers.
I had to find a way to warn them. How could I do this and still get the manager some information? I could not warn everyone. This would leave me with some people to “inform” on. My mind was now racing. Who would I warn?
After some careful thought I picked the group I would warn. It would be all the “yardies”.
I knew exactly how to do it.
Roger Miller was one of the most popular and “talkative” yardies that worked in the store. He was about 6’2 and was a little overweight. His nick name was Heavy M because he looked like the rap artist Heavy D. He would tell people they were relatives. He loved to be the first to know everything and was very loyal to the yardies. He was a self described “Jamaican Nationalist”. He would find Jamaica in everything. He would brag about anything a Jamaica did what was good. If it was bad he would say they became Americanized. He hung out with many of the Jamaicans in the store after hours or during lunch. He loved to speak Patwa all the time. He would speak Patwa to the non-Jamaicans just to annoy them. When they did not understand he would walk away laughing. He would be the perfect candidate to spread the news to the other yardies about the “sting”.
The next day I saw him in the stock room
“Yuh hear about the new plain clothes security people” I dropped a slight hint.
“Wha yuh a talk bout” Heavy M replied.
“Dem ketch a stock boy pon the evening shift a steal wan TV” I replied. I was working two shifts now so no one would question me.
“A whey de r**s yuh a tell mi”
That was all I needed to do. That day I left work with a feeling of satisfaction. I knew the word would spread quickly to the yardies.
My “friendship” with Angela was a little rocky on my return from the Bahamas. She was the second person I called when I came back. I did not get her the first few times I called. Her roommate said she was not there. I had a feeling she was angry at me for “disappearing”. I swore I heard her once in the background. I really needed to talk to someone after the Mary Ann situation. My sister never liked Mary Ann and she seemed a little pre-occupied lately.
I did not want to play the cat and mouse game with Angela. I felt like stop calling her. My ego was getting bruised. The voice of my ego kept saying “I could go out with Ritchie and find a new girlfriend at one of these night clubs”. My ego continued “You are not bad looking and girls are always flirting with you”. It was true. I loved to flirt.
It was 2 days since I last called and left a message. I was fed up.
“Which club you going tonight” I called Ritchie
“Bwoy, mi tiad, nah go nowhere tonight”, Ritchie replied
That was very strange. Ritchie never said no to going to a club.
“Yuh aright” I asked. I was a little concerned.
“Yeah man. Mi fine a new ting and me promise ar mi wi tek are somewhere tonight”
Now I was in shock. Ritchie never gave up going to a party or club for any girl. He changed girlfriends each month. He was a dog. Or as Jamaicans say a “C**ksman”. He would have one “steady” girlfriend and about 2 others on the side. He just recently broke up with his Spanish “steady” girl friend, Ysabel. This probably was going to be his new “wife”.
I was curious.
“Which new girl dis?” I asked.
“Yuh nuh know har?” He replied.
“Alright. We ketch up later”, I replied.
I tried Angela again. I got the same answer. “She is not here”
My sister was out somewhere. I was home alone.
Just as I turned on the TV the phone rang. It was Angela finally calling me back.
She was frantic. She was angry.
“Where were you these last 2 weeks?”, she asked.
“I had an emergency in New York?”,I replied, “ My Aunt was sick in the hospital”
But when I called your sister said you were sick. She did not say you were in New York!!!, she replied.
I think she thought she caught me. Lying was my specialty. This was an easy one.
“I instructed her to tell everyone that. This way if my job called they would not fire me” I replied. “They would not have given me time off I needed to take care of my Aunt. She is dying of breast cancer and she needed help”
There was a pause. I was not sure if she believed me.
“Oooh. I am so sorry to hear, how is she doing now” , she replied
I was relieved. She had bought my story.
“She is not doing very good. The doctors gave her less than a year”, I replied.
There was more silence. I don’t think she knew what to say.
“How are you doing?” I asked trying to change the subject.
“I am doing okay” she still had some tension in her voice. I could sense she wanted to still be angry at me.
Did you miss me? I asked.
What do you mean by that? She asked giggling.
“I don’t mean in a boyfriend type of way”, I was flirting with her and I could sense she was smiling. It was clear she missed me.
I walked over to the radio and turned it on. I loved to put on slow soul music in the background while talking to her. We both knew we were having a “mental” relationship.
“How is your boyfriend? “ I asked the question to see what type of mood she would be in. I know she did not love him but it was always asked so that she did not feel I was trying to threaten the relationship. We both knew the question was to help her not feel guilty. She would spring “him” in our conversations so I figure it was easier if I asked first.
“What song is that, can you put the radio close to the phone?” she asked quickly changing the topic.
The timing of the song was perfect. It was Luther Vandross “Only for one night”.
“I think it is Luther Vandross, let me put the phone to the radio” I replied.
Let me keep you near
To ease away your fear
It would be so nice
If only for one night
I won’t tell a soul
No one has to know
If you want to be totally discreet
I’ll be at your side
If only for one night
If only for one night
Your eyes say things
I never hear from you
And my knees are shaking too
But I’m willing, willing to go through
I must be crazy
Standing in this place
But I’m feeling no disgrace
Absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. Our close relationship seemed to move to another level. It was just what I needed after Mary-Ann.
It was 3 weeks since I made the agreement with the manager to become an “informah”. It was now time to give him something.
I had been observing some of the stock boys on the day shift and have someone I was ready to give up, Hector Arzola. It was not going to be a difficult decision. He was one of the “cockiest” stock boys. He loved to brag about what he had. He lifted weights and bragged how weak the rest of us were. He had a hot temper. No one on the team liked him. They all tolerated him. He was in on the “scam” from the beginning. In fact I found out that he was the one that first started stealing with some of his Cuban friends who visited the store.
I made the decision when he got a few of the other yardies upset. He teased us asking us if we spoke Creole and came by boat. If there is one thing I found out about since moving to Miami is Jamaicans HATE being compared to Haitians.
This was going to be easy.
I waited till the shift was over and everyone left. I walked into the managers office and told him what I had seen Hector do. I was able to give him dates and the receipts. He thanked me for being a good “employee”. I walked out of his office feeling relieved. It was over. Well so I thought.
The phone rang at 10.00 am the next morning. It was my day off. I had planned everything that way. This way I did not have to face anyone.
It was “Heavy M”. He was upset.
“Mi a call yuh fe warn yuh. De r**s cl**t manger fyah mi and de res a de yardie dem tideh”
‘Yeh, im sey smaddy tell im we a teif merchandise”
I was in shock. It did not sound like the manager told him who it was. I had to try to keep the conversation going.
“Im tell yuh who was the informa”
My heart was racing. I had to ask.
I braced myself for the answer?
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